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Open Education Resources (OER)

What are Open Education Resources (OER)?

Open Educational Resources (OER)  are "teaching, learning and research materials in any medium, digital or otherwise, that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits no-cost access, use, adaptation and redistribution by others with no or limited restrictions." (UNESCO, 2019).

OER is more than just free resources. OER materials provide everyone permission to engage in the following 5 R's:

Retain Make, own, and control a copy of the resource

Reuse Use your original, revised, or remixed copy of the resource publicly

Revise Edit, adapt, and modify your copy of the resource

Remix Combine your original or revised copy of the resource with other existing material to create something new

Redistribute Share copies of your original, revised, or remixed copy of the resource with others

Why use OER?

There are many reasons that support the use of OER. Here are a few to consider:

  • Flexibility of course content by integrating diversified resources; not confined to "teaching to the book"
  • Save time by modifying existing material and tailoring it to your course
  • OERs can supplement other course materials when deficiencies in information are evident
  • Reduce the cost of course materials to help ease the financial burden for students
  • Giving access to course materials at the time of enrollment - no more waiting or wondering if students will purchase the text!

What are some the potential challenges in using OER?

  • Digital OER can disappear (think broken links) if not backed up by a trusted repository
  • OER can lack the ancillary resources such as quiz/test banks, presentation slides, and instructor copies
  • Time consuming - it takes time to locate/create and evaluate OER - but the library is here to assist you! You can email us at for assistance. 

But what about Inclusive Access textbook models? What are they and do they really help our students? Find out here

Textbook Costs

 According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, textbook costs increased 88% from 2006 to 2016.

Using Textbook Alternatives such as library resources, open access materials, and OER

can help students save money and potentially increase retention/completion.

Rising cost of textbooks graph

Cite this Library Guide

Wilmington University Library. (2021, April). Open education resources (OER).

[Revised by M. Jones: July, 2020]